My Lovely Summer

It’s been a pretty good summer so I thought I’d post some photos of it. My greenhouse is still going strong. I do need to clean the windows a lot and I had it repainted recently for no small sum. So it’s not without its chores. But I love it so much. My husband calls it my ‘office’. If I could make it so, I would.

The sunflowers were tall and just kept coming and coming. I didn’t even need to stake them and they looked lovely with the fading summer sun shining through them in the evening. I used them as a garden ‘wall’ between the kitchen garden and our seating area on the other side. It worked really well. And as the seeds started to ripen the birds came to peck, peck, peck at them and you could sit and watch them argue with each other and fill their tummies.

So this is one of three Watermelons that I grew in the greenhouse. I forget the variety, Mama’s- Girl, I think. I grew them in the greenhouse because last year my outdoor Watermelons didn’t ripen in time before the cold weather set in.

Watermelons are tricky in a greenhouse because they need to be pollinated to set fruit. The greenhouse door is open all summer but there are still not enough pollinators braving the doorstep to reliably pollinate. So I did this. When the vine was long but still in the flowering stage I carefully moved the vine part of it so it was trailing outside the greenhouse. Once the bugs had done their job and three fruits had set I moved it back inside. I could have used a small brush to hand pollinate it too but I always forget to do it!

The Watermelons were yummy, by the way.

This is my crazy-messy fountain with circular path. The old poppy stalks were quickly taken over by this little annual vine called Cardinal Climber. The hummingbirds love it and make that drumming sound with their wings all around it. After that they take a drink, mid flight, from the fountain. And that little seat in the background is where I watch it all happen. With either my morning coffee or in the evening, a glass of wine. Love my stimulants!

I got heavily into succulents this year. I never realised how ridiculously easy they are to grow. You can literally just scatter them on the ground and they will root. If I accidentally snap a piece off I can never bring myself to throw it away so I make more! Now my greenhouse is full of tiny terracotta pots full of succulents. It’s great.

I have two espaliered Apple trees on the wall in the kitchen garden. They are about four years old and neither one has given me many Apples until this year. Both fruited. But it was this one that won out on flavour. It’s an Egremont Russet and, to be honest, the fruits don’t look that appetising. They’re all rough and tough and patchy. But wow have you ever tasted one? It’s amazing. All nutty and sweet but tangy too. You have to peel it. At least I did. And the flesh goes brown in an instant. But worth it. All worth it.

And by the end of the Summer it all got a bit jungly and you couldn’t see over the tops of the Parsnips. And the cucumber took over the pathway. But isn’t that the way it should be? I’m definitely less concerned by order these days. I let things self seed and plant things too close together and let things flop onto the path. By far the best things in the garden this year was a Rocket plant that went to seed. The bees flocked to its tiny yellow flowers and it hummed all day. Pure joy.

I had to laugh at this one. We’re having some building work done and the builders put up some scaffolding. Within a few days the Cardinal Climber had found it and wrapped itself around it a few times. Oh and the squirrels thought it was lots of fun too.

Love my brick pathway.

My Grapevine is still doing well and producing lots and lots of musky grapes that have a sweet and fragrant taste that is hard to describe. It really is halfway between a green and black grape. The ‘arms’ of the vine are getting too thick for the supports that I put up. I think this Autumn pruning season I will chop the whole thing back to one thick trunk and start again with some whippy ‘arms’. Here’s more about how I prune Grapes.

Roll on Autumn…

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7 Comments on “My Lovely Summer

  1. I’m a newcomer to your blog and just love it, and especially your photography. You certainly have created a wonderful little oasis and I relate. I feel the same about my little third of an acre. I am currently hungering for a greenhouse and have been struggling to identify the brand and style I’m willing to take the plunge for. So many of even the good ones seem so flimsy. Yours’, however, does not. Can you share with me some of your thinking about why you selected the one you did, what brand is it and what you wish you might have done differently? Any advice would be so welcomed. Thanks, in advance!

    • Tracy – the greenhouse is from Sturdi-Built Greenhouse Mfg. in Portland, Oregon. We ship all over the country. Our website is
      http://www.sturdi-built.com, where you can find many photos, download our catalog and price list, and get a feel for what we do. We have been building redwood and glass greenhouses since 1968. We still get calls from customers whose greenhouses are 30 years old, or more, and the greenhouses are still being used. We also sent a Nantucket model to Florida last year, and after it was installed they were hit by three separate hurricanes. It survived all three without a scratch.

    • Tracy – It’s a Sturdi-Built Greenhouse – our Tudor model.

    • Hi Tracy,

      See the answer above from the company that made the greenhouse. I had a brick base built by a local builder and then the wooden greenhouse put on top of that. I went for wooden on brick to give it that English look that I was looking for. Metal greenhouses are easier to look after but they don’t give you that vintage look. You will need to maintain the wood though and keep it in good condition.

  2. So fun to hear about your tiny plot this summer. I love your tactics with the watermelon! And as always, your photography is a delight to the eye.

  3. Lovely to see you again! I envy you having humming birds visiting your garden :)

    • Yes the Hummingbirds are really sweet. We had one trapped inside our sunroom and my husband had to catch it. When he held it in his hands it played dead and lay really still. We all had a good look at it before we let it go. They are beautiful.